Poetry | March 01, 2010

Featuring the poems:


Emigration Photo

For Hughie O’Donoghue


He is the one who will leave, has already gone

has stood in the open door

hearing his thoughts like a voice—

You will never see this again.


And he’s stopped, and the mist has come down on his mind:

He’s looked at the yellow leaves in the grass,

the rain lying down on the tussocky field,

the cows nosing over the gate.


Stand over there—

He has stood by the net of the thorn.

Take off your hat—

It’s been thrown on the grass behind.


He’s strong, his body too strong

for his jacket, his strength

is bursting its buttons, shooting its sleeves,

pushing its pockets awry.


He lives warm and alive with death

but listens, intent, inside life which will sear

the skin from his hands and the flesh from his feet

when the soles of his boots are gone.


He will weep, drink, weep, drink again,

having flesh that will teach

how to live, how to die,

who it is who is doing either.


And the light which made this moment of him?

This light already reclaims him.

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.